Encourager la rédaction en français ne peut être que bénéfique pour le site. On peut aussi encourager la rédaction dans les deux langues. La question c'est : comment ? Quels moyens utiliser ?

Encouraging people to write in French can only be beneficial to the site. Writing in both languages could also be encouraged. The question is how? What means do we have?

4 Answers 4


The policy proposed by Gilles is understandable. Thought it is not what we want. We want to promote our site and let the community run it. Many people from the SEN may not understand French, or just a few, we do not want to put the language prevent progress and good question about French.

Robert Cartaino asked on GLU: https://german.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/22/should-we-translate-posts-as-a-community-norm

We clearly want to have question translated.

What would be in my opinion a good thing is :

  • Having a tab/flag on top of question to switch between translations [FR/EN]
  • The possibility to add the translation when asking a question if you are able to do it yourself
  • Edit possibility in both language
  • A review page for missing translation
  • Possibility to filter French/English question in the front pages

I am not sure whether both question & answers need translation. And also, should we only ask for translation for good or accepted answers?

Anyway that is something to work with the SEI team.

  • 1
    We didn't cope with doing all that translations in GLU.
    – Takkat
    Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 12:35
  • @Mvy I agree largely with this except that you're really talking about a full localization interface; at the point that was introduced, I'm not sure you'd need to limit it to English and French only. You could support any languages supported by the interface.
    – Jez
    Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 12:53
  • @Jez it depends the scope of the site. We surely don't have the manpower to translate question in 10 languages :P
    – M'vy
    Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 12:56
  • @Mvy No, but I wouldn't propose that. It's simply about letting people communicate in the language they are more comfortable in. Of course that has to be balanced with how common that language is, and so whether questions in that language are likely to be understood by many.
    – Jez
    Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 12:57
  • I'm not fundamentally against a bilingual site, but the lack of a possibility to filter out English questions is a big hurdle. There is no practical hope than more than a small minority of posts will end up translated by the community. Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 14:39
  • I'm with @Gilles on this one. You're already going to have your work cut out trying to keep up with correcting the posts in French by non-native speakers, let alone translating the others. And that's without counting the corrections of the translations.
    – Benjol
    Commented Aug 21, 2011 at 15:25

Ringard ?

Let's see how all this would work:

"Hello welcome on the stackexchange network (SEN for short). SEN features among other things a fine selection of language oriented communities.

And more of these will come in due time: Russian, Italian, Spanish and Chinese.

Bringing in experts

I've read that one of the possible goal of privileging French in FLU is to bring in more experts. That looks like a fallacy to me. Even supposing that these experts would not feel confident in English, they still have the possibility to contribute in French.

Besides, all readers familiar with linguistics books have noticed that when their authors insert citations in such languages as English, German and even Latin or Greek they often omit the corresponding translations, thereby implying that these languages are assumed to be known to their reader.

It is probably worth pointing out that several of our finest experts in French are also English experts. I will name only two:

Inclusive vs Exclusive

Should some kind of French-only policy be enforced, it is doubtless that after a few weeks only native speakers and possibly a handful of enthusiasts would be regular users of the community. Is this what we want?

  • Are we so proud of our native tongue that we do not want to share it with other peoples?
  • Does French have so many fans all around the world that we can afford to raise the bar on FLU membership?

As a conclusion, I find this proposal misguided.

I understand this question had to be raised at some point but I think we should put final nail in that coffin and move on.


I want to write as a non native speaker of French.

Personally I studied French for many years, and although my level went down and now it's coming back, I like to post in French. But I understand that many people don't know French, for various reasons.

In that case my personal policy, and I ask everyone who can do it to do it, is to write in both languages, offering a translation in French for native speakers and in English for those who don't know French. This is what I'll try to do.

I think we could adopt the policy that, when possible, we write both in English and in French. If someone doesn't know French, they can simply write in English. It's like this in other proposals too, see the German SE or the Japanese SE.

What should not be done is to impose some French-only policy. The people who don't know French will leave almost immediately, I'm very sure of this.


I do not think writing in both languages can be sustained as a matter of course. It's just too much work. (I'm prepared to do it on Meta, but even there it is time-consuming.) But posts must be in French, for the part of the audience who does not understand any other language. Therefore:

Policy proposal: All questions and answers must be in French. Questions asked in other languages will be closed; they can be reopened if someone (the asker, or any passer-by) offers a translation of at least the gist of the question. It is understood that askers may not be fluent speakers; we merely request that the question be comprehensible by a French speaker who does not speak any other language.

Je ne pense pas qu'il soit réaliste de demander d'écrire dans les deux langues. C'est trop de travail. (Je suis prêt à faire l'effort sur Méta, mais déjà là c'est difficile.) Les messages doivent être en français pour être compris des lecteurs qui ne parlent que cette langue. Ergo :

Proposition de règle : Toutes les questions et les réponses doivent être en français. Les questions posées dans d'autres langues seront fermées ; elles peuvent être rouvertes si quelqu'un (le demandeur original ou n'importe quel passant) fournit une traduction au moins de l'essentiel de la question. Il est reconnu que les demandeurs ne parlent pas forcément français couramment ; tout ce qui est demandé est que la question soit compréhensible par un francophone qui ne parle pas d'autre langue.

  • Downvote. A bunch of people committed to the site on the basis of its being an English+French Q&A site, and moreover, English is the lingua franca of the StackExchange Network. Questions should be accepted in English too. The 'part of the audience who does not understand any other language' does not have to pay attention to English questions.
    – Jez
    Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 11:05
  • 3
    I strongly disagree. There are quite enough of low quality French only forums out there. who needs another one? Welcoming questions and answers in English is a must: 1/ to attract and retain non native speakers genuinely fond of French but not confident enough to partake in this language and 2/ to keep away the kind of subculture that proves so detrimental to other sites. As a general note the 3rd millennium on this tiny planet is about multiculturalism and openness, not autistic withdrawal and straight jackets. Does anybody here think that French is easy to master? Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 14:31
  • 1
    @Jez There's also a bunch of people who committed to the site on the basis of its being a French Q&A site (there was a proposal of a French-only site, now deleted, that was closed as a duplicate of the French-and-English proposal). The SE network is in the process of expanding beyond English (1 2). Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 20:42
  • @Gilles as a side comment, your two links regarding “expansion beyond English” date from more than a year. Nothing has happened since in terms of added functionality to support different languages (policy, SE engine features, localization). Questions on Meta to support non-ASCII characters in tags are laughed at. This is not happening soon :(
    – F'x
    Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 21:35
  • @F'x Unfortunately for us, it's a chicken and egg site, and we're not the ones who decide on engine features and localization. We need to build up a French-speaking community, and then support will follow (“in 6 to 8 weeks”, as they say). So far, there hasn't been a non-English-language site (the closest thing is German Language, which is bilingual). Policy, on the other hand, is up to us to some extent. Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 21:42
  • 3
    Upvote from me. I'm not sure I totally agree, but I completely understand your point of view, and you may well be right that 'going native' is the best way to make sure the site has a future. I think the only way round this is to encourage French, without enforcing it heavy handidly.
    – Benjol
    Commented Aug 21, 2011 at 20:36

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